The Struggle is REAL!!

31 Dec

Okay, 6 months since the Big Weight Loss Challenge reveal. Time to check in to give you an update on my progress.

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What the scale says:

It’s hard not to care about the numbers. I tell myself to get a grip and not worry so much about what the number on the scale says… but honestly it’s a pretty good indicator of where I’m at and it’s doing a good job of keeping me in check. Since the end of the challenge I’ve lost an additional 15 pounds. 6-8 of those pounds like to come back on and go away when I’m going at it 100%. I had hoped to be down about 30 more pounds, but we’ll save that goal for the next 6 months.

What’s been difficult:

  • Living the 80/20 rule is HARD. You do have to be committed to it. For me this means of my 42 “meals” in a week, 8 of those meals can contain some small “cheat”.  The other 34 meals need to be completely clean eating. It was easier for me to pick a day where I would allow myself the cheats and then just get back on track the next day. Bad idea… it’s too hard for me to recover when I have a whole day of making mistakes.
  • Clean eating is a lifestyle change. One I thought we as a family embraced whole-heartedly. I found it difficult to keep up with it though when we had too many family/friend gatherings with good food, too many trips to Disney and too many days on the road. It’s so much easier to run through a drive thru. Also, it sucks when you’re eating the salad and everyone else around you is chowing down on French fries and burgers.
  • I know my road to success is in planning. So why don’t I do it?! Why do I allow something else to take over my Sunday?!? It only takes me an hour to plan out the food and exercising for the week and another hour to buy all the groceries. So why am I being so damn lazy?! (I don’t know the answer to this one).
  • The exercise has actually been the easiest part. Getting to the gym, going for a jog and taking my bike instead of my car are things I actually look forward to. Alas, Dan the Trainer was right…. YOU CAN’T OUT TRAIN A SHITTY DIET.

Things I should be proud of:

  • I ran a freaking half marathon. Ran it. I stopped once at the 6 mile marker for 45 seconds to stretch and again at the 10 mile marker for 45 seconds to walk. So for 3 hours and 11 minutes, I jogged nonstop. I look back at that accomplishment and I’m proud for so many reasons, and I still question how I was able to do it… but that was by far my biggest highlight.
  • I’ve not gained any weight in a year. I’ve been losing weight (albeit slower than I would have liked to) but it’s been a year now, and I’m not looking back.
  • I’ve had a lot of curve balls thrown at me the last couple months and I’m still standing. For those of you who know me well, you know September was my HELL month.  I was turned down for a promotion I deserved; Dante was at a crossroads with his PhD studies and joining the real engineering world. Neither one of us got what we wanted. I used to turn to food and wine to handle my emotions, I instead harnessed that energy to exercise. I actually remember telling my former co-worker “I wish how I feel about the outside of my body matched the way I need to feel about the inside.” DID YOU READ THAT SENTENCE?! I felt entirely de-valued, but because I was taking care of my body I still felt some self-worth. That was a turning point for me.

So now what?!

Time for some New Year Resolutions.

  • We as a family are working on improving our whole selves, so we’re utilizing the Six Dimensions of Wellness (shoot me, I’m a health educator and need theory to guide my work and my personal life!) to target specific areas in each category to improve our quality of life over the course of the year.
    • Physical: Stick to my race schedule (see below) and commit to eating clean 80/20 and exercising 5-6 days per week.  Work on losing 5-7 pounds per month to be in the best possible shape for Brazil World Cup trip this June.
    • Emotional: Reconnect weekly with Dante using the journaling method we learned at our Marriage Encounter weekend 3 years ago!
    • Spiritual: Continue to participate in the MOMS ministry at Queen of Peace; participate in two other ministries at QoP this year.
    • Intellectual: Read leisurely. Find a list at get through 10 books this year. Additionally, obtain Wellness Coach certification and attend one Health Education related conference.
    • Social: Join and become involved in one civic group in Gainesville and work on nurturing relationships to help build a better community.
    • Occupational: Find a job that I can contribute my skills in a meaningful way, without jeopardizing my valuable family time in the process.

Race Calendar 2014

Nov. 28th- 5K Turkey Trot
Dec. 7- Orlando Half
Dec. 14- Tyler’s Hope 5k
Jan 18- St. Pete Beach Classic 3.8 mile Beach Run
Jan 19- St. Pete Beach Classic 10K
Feb. 2- Melbourne Music Festival Half
Feb. 22—Disney Princess 10k (Glass Slipper Challenge!)
Feb. 23- Disney Princess Half (Glass Slipper Challenge!)
Mar 1- Race the Tortoise 5K at O’Leno State Park
Mar 15- Run for Haven 5K
Mar 22- March for Babies 8.5 miler
May 3- Expedition Everest Challenge 5k
Aug 30- Disneyland, CA 10k (Dumbo Double Dare?!)
Aug 31- Disneyland, CA Half Marathon (Dumbo Double Dare?!)
30 Apr

The start of my new life!

Before and After

The challenge ends on Saturday, but we won’t know the winners until the end of May at the reveal party. Before the winner is even revealed, I just wanted to share how I feel like I’ve won— NO MATTER THE OUTCOME! I’ve had some huge milestones through this process I’d like to share with you!

Fitness Milestones

  • Last week I was able to complete a rather hilly 5k in 38:28. Remember my first 5K time? 56:34. I shaved 18 minutes off my original 5K time… and I can run the whole thing WITHOUT stopping. I actually ran 5 miles without needing to stop the whole time either. I’ve figured out that running is a mental game. I’ve not mastered it, but I’m getting better!
  • Besides that whole “get a stomach virus sick and go to the hospital” episode a couple weeks back, I’ve worked out 6 days a week with Sunday as my off day for 15 weeks now. Running is always the easy way to go, but I’ve been using the UF Stadium for some solid workouts as well. I like to watch all the young, energetic undergrads get creative and try new things at the stadium….then when they leave I try to copy them! 🙂 Biking with my family has always been fun, but now it’s also become a way for us to get around town. Bike ride to Publix instead of taking the car. We use Xavier’s bike trailer to store all the heavy groceries. Saves gas money and increases the family bonding time.
  • Last week Dante encouraged me to lace my old soccer cleats back up and get out on the field for a pick up game. Woah. It’s been a solid 9 years since I’ve played with cleats… I’m rusty, but I know it’ll all come back to me. I did manage to score a goal… watch out Gainesville Adult Soccer League, I may be headed your way this summer!
  • I didn’t quit. 15 weeks of crazy, intense workouts courtesy of Dan at SweatLife Fitness and I only had to quit one workout (the second one because of that dumb exertion headache!) I’m so proud of myself! I’m a hard worker… and I’m sure that served as motivation to my fellow BWLC3 contestants. It certainly served as motivation to all the skinny runners of the last 5k I was in! 🙂

Nutrition Milestones

  • I’m eating clean…. and I’m enjoying it! Yes, it gets super awkward when you’re at a function or family event and start to question how things are made and what’s in everything, but after a while people get used to you asking.
  • Every month, I now prepare about 90% of what I consume ( as opposed to buying at restaurants). That’s HUGE for me. My crazy schedule of working until 11pm each day made it difficult to NOT eat fast food every night for dinner and first thing in the morning for breakfast. I went from eating out about 10 times a week to maybe once or twice a week. CRAZY!!
  • I’m a part of Annie’s Organic Buying Club. Thanks to a Mommy friend and my local distributor (who also happens to be a fellow BWLC3 contestant) I now get organic, fresh fruits and veggies bi-weekly. These help me juice for breakfast/snack AND ensure that I have some  fresh options to snack on throughout the day. Every week is different… and the whole family is trying fruits and veggies that we would have NEVER attempted if we had to buy them at the store!

Other Awesome Milestones

  • I started the challenge in a size 26… I’m now down to an 18.
  • I feel GREAT! I really did find some extra energy somewhere! 🙂
  • I’ve lost about 45 lbs. so far… hoping to lose another 45 by the end of 2013.
  • My PARENTS have lost HUGE amounts of weight, are attending weekly boot camp sessions down in Orlando. They also continue to shave time off their 5K attempts.
  • My COUSINS have signed up for 5Ks and other crazy races where they have to complete 32 obstacles in 13 mile stretches!!
  • My ENTIRE FAMILY now keeps super active and brings HEALTHY food options to our family gatherings! We even incorporate a fitness component in our gatherings!!
  • My CO-WORKER who has also been my running partner has lost a significant amount of weight and will look FANTASTIC in her Maid of Honor dress for her sister’s wedding in June!
  • Our Girls Place girls are eating healthier and TRYING my “crazy” healthy food. You fellow parents out there know how hard it is to introduce kids to new food items! This is a huge WIN for us at Girls Place!

So what I’m really saying is, JUMP ON BOARD… there’s PLENTY of room to share in these triumphs. The best part of it all is how quickly the “get healthy bug” spread to all of our family and friends. The BWLC Challenge didn’t only change my life for the better, it impacted my entire world.  For THOSE reasons, I feel like a real winner. Sure it would be nice to win it all, but hey– if that doesn’t happen I can always come back to this post and see just how far I’ve come in only 4 months!


The REAL secrets to weight loss

5 Mar

Clean eating meme

I’d like to consider myself a “weight loss program” guru. Sad thought, as I’m only 27 years old and have only been obese for about 10 of those 27 years. Alas, I’m part of that group desperately trying to lose weight FAST… no matter the cost. Thought I’d share some of these experiences with you in hopes that you can learn from my failures and successes. Remember, everyone and their experiences are different. My experiences and yours might not exactly line up…

Weight Watchers- Oh, how much money I dumped into WW. I counted points, cheered when they went back to the old system and allowed  fruits and vegetables to be “free points” and bought every book and snack they sold at meetings. I would lose weight and then gain it all back after I became too busy to go to meetings. I think the part that got me hooked every time was seeing how successful others would be on the program. You have to live under a rock to not notice Jennifer Hudson and her amazing transformation. Ah, when she became a spokeswoman I was running back to my weekly weigh-ins and meetings. I too was a new mom, desperate to lose baby weight. The difference between me and Effie (Jennifer Hudson for you non Dreamgirls fans) is that I’m not an entertainer. I don’t get paid to look good… nor did I have a personal trainer working me on the regular and someone to shop and prepare all of my meals, or someone to watch my kid while I was getting all that done. It’s unrealistic of me to expect her results because of the totally different lives we lead.

Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem- These two could be wrapped up into one, because after trying both for a month I realized how unrealistic it would be to keep the weight off with pre-packaged food. Let’s also not forget how damaging this was to my pocket book! After dropping $600 for month of these programs (and still needing to purchase some additional food at the grocery store to accompany my meals), I decided to try something different.

Medi Weight Loss Clinic- This is the program that “worked”. In 6 months I lost about 90 lbs. I exercised regularly (against the advice of the clinic employees), but I wouldn’t attribute the weight loss to that. I would instead say it was my 500 calorie limit a day, the consumption of 12-15 pills daily and the constant measuring of my urine to make sure my body was in “ketosis”.  At the time I was so obsessed with the number on the scale from my weekly weigh-ins, it didn’t matter what was happening on the inside of my body. The outside looked fabulous! I was getting loads of compliments and probably losing somewhere between 5-8 lbs each week (when it’s safe to lost 1-2 lbs a week). At each visit I took B12 and a MIC combo shot (I have no idea what was in that shot). I also shelled out a good amount of cash. I was so obsessed with how I looked, the money didn’t matter. My body changed so much, so quickly that I was unrecognizable to even the closest of friends.  I thought these people at the clinic really wanted to help me… and I thought I was their poster child. Until I hit my goal weight.

I thought to myself “wohoo! I did it! Where’s the banner, confetti and balloons?!” Instead I got a lecture from the nurse about how my 90 lbs wasn’t good enough. My BMI was still setting me in the “overweight” category. I would need to drop another 40 in order for me to enter the “maintenance phase” of the program. HILARIOUS, I thought. I was back down to the same size I was in high school.. in fact, I fit back into my senior prom dress… yet they wanted me to lose another 40 lbs?! At that moment, I quit the program and tried to integrate slowly back into the “normal eating habits”. I soon found out that my body wasn’t ready for that.

What followed was probably the most crazy 3 years of my life. My body went through so many changes. I was lightheaded all the time, my period became even more sporadic than normal, I was growing crazy amounts of facial hair and I suffered from constant stomach pain. After spending years searching for the cause of this mystery pain, we found that I developed a sensitivity (and allergy) to some foods I’ve consumed my whole life: chicken, turkey and shrimp. I also developed ulcers on the OUTSIDE of my stomach. We would have never known that if I didn’t deliver my son by cesarean!  My OB found several freshly healed over ulcers on the outside of my stomach.

I thought to myself, surely I can’t be the only person experiencing these symptoms. My friends who started the program with me also suffered from scary symptoms: emergency room visits from passing out,  gastrointestinal disorders and even worse, two of them developed thyroid cancer. This isn’t a coincidence. A few years down the road you’ll hear about this in the news and recall this blog, I’m telling you it’s dangerous. It’s also a business  They don’t care about you or your health. They care about keeping the doors open and taking your money. DON’T FALL INTO THE TRAP!!

Now that you know what doesn’t work, here’s what does:

Clean eating. Yes, it’s true: I DON’T COUNT CALORIES. I’m losing weight and I don’t count ONE FREAKING CALORIE. I just make sure that I’m eating as organically as possible, as close to the source as possible and as regularly (every 2-3 hours) as possible. Eating healthy does cost more money… but I’ve noticed that it isn’t any more expensive than eating out 4 times a week, which is what we were doing!

Keeping active. Dan does work us to death. Here’s a recap of the workouts in the last several days: circuits consisting of wood choppers with weights, stability ball push-ups with a knee tuck, triceps pull downs and step ups;  resistance band pulling a partner across parking lots, pushing a sleigh with 45 lb. weight across a parking lot, sprinting, curb burpees, and ABC planks; let’s not forget outdoor workouts with parachutes, medicine ball running over head.. or even worse medicine ball Russian twists, bear crawl and crab walks… AND INDIAN RUNS.  I know I’m lucky to be working with Trainer Dan, but he’s taught me so much in this short amount of time, I feel confident that I’ll be able to continue to come up with  my own routines once we have to leave him. You don’t need a trainer to be active. Dan has actually been drilling that into our heads lately. He’s right. You just need to get motivated…. or have:

Good support systems. Honestly, I can’t stress this enough. Yes, having a husband join you in the struggle is helpful, but you can’t just rely on that one person. Everywhere you spend time, find someone who can be your support system. I have them at work, at school, at home, with my mommy group, with my extended family, at church. I literally have someone EVERY WHERE that knows what my goals are and knows that I sometimes need a nudge to do what I need to do (eat right or exercise). Don’t surround yourself with those kind of friends that are going to talk you out of exercising.. or pull that “just this once” crap. Good friends will know how important (and how hard!) it is for you to stay the course… they won’t deter you from it! Pick the right support system… you can’t have too many of those!!

Stay strong friends!!

A Few of my FAVORITE things!

20 Feb
Do you see that?! It's my wedding band that comes on and off FREELY! THIS is progress, my friends!

Do you see that?! It’s my wedding band that comes on and off FREELY! THIS is progress, my friends!

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings… just kidding. And sorry if that’ll be stuck in your head all day today!

It’s been too long since my last post! So much has happened, and I think I made some personal growth in these past 4 weeks. It’s probably easiest to share with you things I now consider to be on the top 5 of my “favorite Taryn changes” list:

5. MORE ENERGY. I mean A LOT of energy. After a really long day at work/ school I would come home with zero energy to play with Xavier or even have a conversation with Dante. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still exhausted from work, but now I have energy to cook and clean before I go to bed,  chase X around the house and have a good conversation with my husband. You know the type of conversation where you listen and give feedback instead of “uh-huhing”  and then criticizing? I think he’s enjoying that change too.

4. JUICING. What an AWESOME investment. This thing has already paid for itself after having it for only two weeks. When you change your eating habits you get all gung-ho and plan meals that will take forever to make, but are healthy. So if my day was long, I wanna stick to something I can make fast. Which means all of the fruits and vegetables I have bought are quickly on their way to spoiling. I used to just throw things out when they got bad… now if I can catch them as they start to get soft, I throw them in the juicer and have a veggie drink I would have never tried (ie: zucchini squash, celery, tomato, strawberries and apple juice). I know it sounds gross, and by all means it isn’t the best drink I’ve ever had in my life, BUT I didn’t have to throw anything away AND I snuck some more fruits and veggies in my daily diet. If you don’t have a juicer, get one. They are worth every penny. I got a Breville because it had the best reviews on BestBuy’s website… and I got 5x rewards points on that purchase! SCORE!

3. MEAL PLANNING & MY LUNCHBOX. Who would have thunk? Meal planning has become one of my favorite things?! Yeah. I’m one of those anal “plan EVERYTHING” people. I can handle when I plan things and they just don’t happen (juggling many jobs teaches you how to reamin cool despite plans going awry!) It’s just that there’s something comforting about knowing what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner tonight. My massive lunch box has saved my life. I have a few ice packs that help keep things cool in there ALL DAY LONG. It’s so important. I have late night days at work where I have to eat breakfast on the road (Starbucks Oatmeal Container) and then pack lunch, dinner and all my snacks. This has been key to my success. Really. Planning my meals ahead of time to fit the place that I’ll be in (ie: today we’ll be at Touchdown Terrace setting up for an event at 11:30– no microwave, so pack smart; eating dinner out with friends at 7:30pm) really makes a difference.

2. EXERCISING. Every time I walk into that gym feeling confident that I have progressed, Trainer Dan finds new ways to push my brain and my body to the limit. I never leave exhausted… I leave feeling accomplished. I wake up feeling sore as hell (my triceps are KILLING me from yesterdays workout! Guess I found where all the arm fat lives!). These last couple of weeks Trainer Dan has really stepped up his game. We add new things to circuit training (jumping pull ups are rough.. but try holding a 60 second plank after battle ropes, triceps pull downs, wood chopper lunges and throwing a 10 lb ball at a wall while falling into a squat). Last Saturday we went for a jog outside on the Haile walking trails around the gym, WITH 6,8, or 10 pound medicine balls. It wasn’t terrible, until after our 1 or 2 minute jogs we had to do squats, lunges or pushups… then we had to run a good 2 minutes back holding the medicine ball over our head. WOAH. Try that and let me know what ya think. Bottom line, it’s getting fun. I actually look forward to working out. Although we do curse at Dan while he’s pushing us to the extreme… we do thank him over and over for helping us get this far.

1. SHRINKING. it’s only been 4 weeks, but I feel the difference in my clothes… remember the rotating wedding band I told you about last blog? It has now been upgraded to the “wiggly” ring! I can actually wiggle it off!! Now to find that engagement ring to see how close we are to wearing it again! I’m so close to the 20 lbs mark, I can taste it… and that’s what’s helping keep me in check when I have thoughts of going astray! 🙂 4 week physiographs on Thursday… I’ll report back the results on the next blog!

Where is Mile Marker #2?!?!

11 Feb
Taryn and Christi completing a 5K... not the best time in the world, but at least I finished when I felt like quitting in the first mile! :)

Taryn and Christi completing a 5K… not the best time in the world, but at least I finished when I felt like quitting in the first mile! 🙂

Maybe it was because I had a SweatLife workout before the 5K, but MAN did that take longer than I anticipated! I’m glad it supported a good cause (fighting for an end to sex trafficking) because some inspiration was needed after I felt like it took forever to get to the 2 mile marker. My co worker Christi and my husband Dante and our son Xavier came along for the ride… good company is a must! We started off repeating the Couch to 5k “Day 3” so we could walk/jog a portion of it. I was hanging in there until about 2 more cycles of the 60 second jog and then I had to just resort to walking. I felt like my legs turned into 50 lbs weights I had to lug around… and we hadn’t seen the 2 mile marker yet… so the only way to ensure I could actually complete the whole thing was by walking. Christi and Dante joined and our 5K turned into a great conversation, then we jogged the last 100 yards through the finish line! The BWLC3 group plans on participating in another 5K in mid-March. Then we of course have the huge 8 mile walk for March of Dimes right after that… so I see better finish times in my future. For now, we’ll use 56 minutes as a baseline for how long it took to cross the finish line of a 5k on Saturday.

I planned my meals this week. Dinner’s got some tasty sounding meals. I had to get a little creative, because there are 2 days this week where I need to abstain from meat (Ash Wednesday and the first Friday of Lent). Up on the menu this week are: cauliflower soup, roasted vegetable soup, pesto rice pasta with grilled fish, indian couscous with ground beef, asian style asparagus and beef. Trader Joe’s makes my meal planning SO much easier! We stocked up on fish, couscous, quinoa, loads of fruits and veggies on the inexpensive. We nearly filled up a cart for $120!  For those of you that think that’s expensive, this is approximately what Dante and I would spend on eating dinner out at our favorite restaurants (for only 2-3 meals!!) I still had to hit some other stores to complete my shopping list. I can see how annoying this can get after spending 3  hours grocery shopping. The hope is that I’ll get into a rhythm so I can cut my time in half. Let’s get real, anytime Dante or I are out in Gainesville, we run into people we know. At Walmart yesterday, our 15 minute trip turned into a 45 minute one when we ran into 7 different people throughout the store. Oh, well… catching up with friends is probably something we won’t give up… we’ll just have to find more hours in the day to shop, I suppose!

In a weight loss related note, I’m down another 3 lbs! Wohoo! Although I wouldn’t say I’m down a dress size, I’m happy to report that clothes are fitting much more comfortably and dare I say, looser! This week I was ecstatic that I made it through a whole work day without having to adjust my underwear from falling under my pouch! That means they fit better!!  Once I can get my engagement ring back on, I’ll be a happy camper. We’re not so far away from that goal. The wedding band can at least now spin around my finger! It’s all about small steps in the right direction, people!

I’ve got a crazy work week upon me… but I plan to keep you all informed on my progress after my Thursday workout! Have a great Monday, friends! Oh, and for those of you that juice, my new juicer arrives sometime this week. What’s your favorite combo of fruits and veggies in the juicer??



Introducing: Dr. Taryn Rivera Buckley

8 Feb

Keep Calm


Holy crap. Is this real?!? Am I technically done with school?!? I’m a little in shock, that right now all I have to do is submit my dissertation to the graduate school and edit it before I walk across that stage in the O’Connell Center in late April! I think I’m even more overwhelmed by all the love and support you all have shown me! Texts, emails, flowers, Facebook comments, likes, messages and posts. YOU ALL KNOW HOW TO MAKE A GIRL FEEL LOVED! THANK YOU!! Here’s a link to the abstract of my work and I included my dedications and acknowledgements in there so you can get an idea of the village it took to get me this far!! Like my Mom said on the morning of my defense:  “You know it’s gonna be a good day when you sit down in your car, turn on the radio and “Girl on Fire” is the first song to play.”  It turned out to be one hell of a day!

So as you can imagine, all of this excitement had the potential to throw anyone’s exercise and diet regimen off track. I won’t lie, my planning night (Sunday) was just filled with too much school work (and Superbowl) to actually plan my meals for the week. So I’ve just been winging it. Lots of fruits throughout the day, veggies with breakfast and dinner and leftovers from the night before is always for lunch the next day. Not my ideal week, but it’s working.

Gosh, does anyone else’s celebration plans include drinking and eating?! That’s how this Buckley family celebrates, and I didn’t realize it until Wednesday after my defense. “Let’s grab a glass of wine” and “Where should we go eat?” became phrases associated with celebrating successes. How awkward to do any of that when you’re on the challenge. We ate awesome salads at Designer Greens, picked up X and went bowling. It wasn’t as good as a glass of wine, but it was fun… and distracted me from thinking about that glass of wine (until now!)

That Couch to 5k app is pretty awesome and I’m now confident that I can replace my “off days” with this as a solid piece to my workout plan. My co worker and I will be walking in a 5K this Saturday… I guess that’s a start! But when we told one of our Girls Place kids that we planned to do a 5K this weekend she joked that we probably should have started the walking program last year if we were planning on finishing fast. What a keen little observer after watching us alternate jogging and walking for 60 seconds. Did my panting give my fitness level away?? None the less, it’s nice to have a friend (and little jokesters) panting and gasping for air beside you. I highly recommend getting on board and grabbing a friend along for the ride!

This week in the gym Trainer Dan has introduced us to some new (crazy) stuff. I enjoyed our group circuit… and it really put pressure on the “rower” to keep pace so the rest of the group didn’t have to suffer through their circuit. We alternated between modified mountain climbers, TX presses, more arm work with resistance bands, the step up board and battle ropes. You did your circuit until the person on the rowing machine reached 250m. After rotating twice through that we did some abdominal work, where I basically had to lay on the floor for 10 minutes after the workout to recover. Intense… and then we go back on Thursday and we’re going just as crazy with jumping dips, kettlebells, planks, squats with weights and woodchoppers with resistance bands. I still feel a bit of soreness today… but it’s that “this feels GREAT” soreness where you can just feel that the fat there is getting ready to vacate your body. LOVE IT!

This is a really great group. Between Dan and the other trainers at SweatLife –who are always giving us tips, advice and support– this group of BWLC3  ladies is rocking it. Did you know that as a group we lost 26  pounds in the first week?! Impressive! There’s a whole lot more coming off if we keep all of this up! I’ll report back to you all on Saturday after the 5k! Until then: keep calm and get to your goal weight my friends!!


4 Feb
In honor of our friend's Nikki and Manny's wedding this past weekend here's a throwback (2008) from when Dante and I tied the knot.

In honor of our friend’s Nikki and Manny’s wedding this past weekend here’s a throwback (2008) from when Dante and I tied the knot.

So this is a HUGE week in my academic career. A PhD, as many people say, is a terminal degree… meaning you’re done with degrees once this one is over. Since I don’t plan on pursuing a post-doctorate or plan on becoming a professor at an Research-1 level institution, this is the end of my academic career. On Wednesday I will defend my dissertation and find out if all my work was good enough for my academic committee to pass me. So planning my meals and workouts is EXTRAORDINARILY important this week as I barely have time to process information outside of my dissertation!

This week was GREAT as far as sticking to the meal plan and working out! Dan had us engaging in our “real” workouts on Thursday and Saturday. We do a mix of cardio and strength training in 60 second stints… so for example. 3 of us will hit the cardio machines (rowing, elliptical, and treadmill) for about 8 minutes (60 seconds hard, 60 seconds slower for the duration), while the other 3 are working on strength training circuits (60 seconds of jumping jacks, lunges, squats with weights/medicine balls, dips, TX rows, etc.). Boy, do I come home feeling sore!

The workouts have been physically challenging for sure. It’s extra annoying how much extra body weight I have to throw around when I’m doing all of this. It’s harder to do dips, when you’re scrawny little arms and weak core  can’t support all the extra pounds you’re carrying! I know it’ll get easier… but for now, it’s so hard to work on form!

Something scary happend during one of my workouts, and it’s begin to be another obstacle in all of this. When I’m going all out, trying to get maximum reps I’ll all of a sudden get a HUGE headache in the back of my head, right above my right ear. The girls noticed quickly, called Dan over and he immediately put me on a bike for the rest of the workout. The headache subsided… but damn, my pride. I don’t like making excuses… especially in the gym. I just felt like I was quitting, and letting my little group of 3 down. I also felt like I cheated myself a workout day with Dan, which are so worth their weight in gold. (Side note: I also felt cheated out of workout time last week when I had to clean up dog shit off my shoe for 7 minutes after our warm up. Come on people, pick up the dog poop and trash it… especially if they shit on the sidewalk/street! GRRR… I digress.) 

Denise, one of my BWLC teammates reminded me that for us, the eating is so important too… not to beat myself up over the workout. It helped. She also told me that those headaches can come from not breathing correctly during exercise. After a little bit of googling (my favorite pastime) I found many people experience “exertion headaches” while working out. The main cause: not breathing properly when working out. So, on Sunday when my mom, husband and myself began the Couch to 5K app, and the headache started creeping back in, I concentrated on my breathing and that sucker started going away!!!! Who knew, the whole “Just BREATHE” concept that goes hand in hand with my work and home life, also applied to my workouts… but this time in the literal sense!

I should also point out that I survived a wedding weekend!!! Wow… I didn’t realize I could be so strong! No cake, sangria (!!!!) or bread at the dinner buffet! I also took advantage of the opportunity to dance off some more calories, thanks to the spanish music the DJ played. I moved those hips almost as much as Beyonce during the SuperBowl last night. It must be working… I’m down 10 lbs since our first weigh-in!!! I don’t know how much of it is body fat, but hey the scale is moving in the RIGHT direction for the first time in two years!! Until Thursday, my friends! For those of you working out and eating right with me (THANK YOU) and stay strong… we GOT THIS!!!